Maastricht – day 4

We went for another decadent breakfast and then enjoyed wandering around the Friday morning market. It exudes a buzz and is very busy. The market is clearly a successful one which has everything including, fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, toiletries, flowers, clothes and copious amounts of fabric and sewing stalls. Obviously, the Dutch love to sew because the amount of fabric stalls frequented by locals was extraordinary. Quite envious of the market because you could acquire much of the weekly food shop there.

During the afternoon, we strolled into the local park, visited an old mill and sat and had a cuppa in a busy square. The sun was shining and we enjoyed bitterballen and beer too. Once we languished in the sun, we didn’t really want to move.

My overall impression of Maastricht was very good. Lovely place, with great architecture (historical and modern), bars, restaurants, parks, river and shops. Very relaxing place to visit and easy to drive to from Calais. A great holiday with plenty of food, drink and walking. One day we walked over 19,000 steps and on the quiet, easy days, we ended up walking 15,000 steps. There is hardly any traffic although you do have to watch the bikes. This makes it easy to wander and explore. Yes, a super place to visit and recommended.

Maastricht – day 3

We caught a train to Valkenburg which is a beautiful city and a fascinating place to explore. Before the train journey, we popped into a bakery for coffee and croissants. The shops and eateries in this area are so stylish and a joy to visit.

Wandering around the streets of Valkenberg was glorious with quirky architecture, castle overlooking the town and the ‘caves’. Apparently, the castle belonged to the illegitimate son of Duke Philip, known as the bastard of Burgundy. Much of the buildings are known to be similar to Burgundy, for this reason. The Burgundian lifestyle still means enjoyment, delicious food and extravagance. There are areas full restaurants where you can stop have a drink and a meal and watch the world go by. We did this for lunch and it was so relaxing and felt quite decadent and wonderful.

The castle is unique in the Netherlands because it is the only one built on a hill. We did a tour of the caves which was weirdly creepy but interesting nevertheless. The whole tour was in Dutch and we were given a paper with the main information. This was OK, but as it was so dark, we had to use the torches on our phones. I felt quite disorientated because I’ve always disliked caves but it was interesting. We learnt about the block cutter’s workstation, the Valkenburg Castle, the American army during WW2, the Royal House, and the sad tale of two boys getting lost in the caves and found perished in 1993. The tour guide turned his lamp off to demonstrate the darkness. At this moment, it became clear how you’d be lost without a lamp.

Overall, a great day out. Particularly enjoyed wandering around the old town and the lovely lunch whilst watching the world walk by.

Maastricht – day 2

We went to a lovely cafe for coffee and croissant for breakfast. Really enjoyed the place and they even had a glass fridge full of bottled beer. I’d love one in my home! Then headed towards the River Maas for some photos and across the bridge for even more photos. The sky was very grey and atmospheric so great for photography. We walked along the cobbled streets admiring the architecture and local life. You certainly have to watch the cyclists, some of which text as they cycle.

They have some curious shops full of funny bits which I’m sure maybe useful…somewhere. Socks with ‘i hate everyone’ on and suction tools for getting boiled eggs out of hot water. Always fun to see shops in other countries. Never buy much because cannot be bothered to cart it home. Can you?

By midday we stopped for apples and water before climbing the red tower to enjoy the view. Steep claustrophobic steps ensued. Phew. We managed it…somehow! The red tower is called Sint Janskerk and is 17th century Gothic. The red tower can be seen for miles and a wonderful, unusual sight. The limestone tower was said to originally be covered with a coat of ox blood but has been restored with normal paint. After our arduous climb we were rewarded with sweeping views of Maastricht. Quite incredible.

After this we plonked ourselves in one of the local cafes and ordered tea and bitterballen. We joked how this will become a daily 3 o’clock habit. Must say I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around and then enjoying family chatter in the cafe watching the world go by with tea and bitterballen. In the square children chased birds, bikes whizzed passed and there was a hilarious woman posing Angelina style while her hubby was trying to photo her. It did look funny watching her pose, leg out, arm on hip, holding brolly as her man was getting soaked taking the photo.

During the evening we had another jolly family meal and a wander around the narrow cobbled streets.

Maastricht… day 1

Why Maastricht?

This is going to be our first family holiday for years and it is all very exciting. We are going with our offspring and their partners. Maastricht is the place we are visiting, because my daughter’s husband grew up there as a child and wants to show us the place.

Day 1

We set off bleary eyed in the car with cases and a jointly prepared picnic. The journey was relaxing because my son-in-law kindly offered to drive. During the journey enjoyed one or two naps and watched the English, French, Belgium and eventually the Dutch countryside rushing by. We stopped for lunch which was ham or cheese rolls, tomatoes and coleslaw. Homemade cookies, made by son’s girlfriend and omg they were delicious. We sat outside, and although freezing, it was fun and we were pleased to eat because all ravenous.

We arrived, parked in the hotel carpark and set off for beers and bitterballen. We found a bar and relaxed for a couple of hours and then returned to the hotel to register, unpack and refresh for dinner. Must say, already impressed with Maastricht with its cobled streets, beautiful architecture and vibrant, busy bars.

Dinner was a huge plate of Satay chicken, salad and chips. When I finished, I did think about choosing some healthy options, at some point, during this adventure.

Can’t wait to explore the city.

Progress, lunch recipe and why go low carb?

Progress

Yes, I’ve devised another recipe using canned lentils. Progress with my health and fitness plan has been good. About 3kg loss and 2kg is body fat, so I’m quite pleased with the progress.

As I’m going away to Maastricht for a few days soon, I’m trying to be very good. We are going away with the offspring and the other half’s and will probably consume many meals out. On the plus side, usually walk everywhere and a bike ride has also been suggested. Hopefully, this will help and it will be enormous fun.

Even on holiday, it will be possible to not go completely off the rails and to be honest, I feel so much better at the moment, and more energised too. Really hoping to keep this up.

Why low-carb?

While the food plan I’m implementing is low fat, it is not my main concern. Sugar is. Low fat products tend to have sugar in them so apart from a little low fat cheese, they are best avoided.
Studies now indicate natural fats are fine. With the low carb plan, you decrease sugar and starches so your blood sugar stabilizes and levels of fat storing hormone insulin drop. Also, find you are satiated, thus lessening the need to eat and causing weight loss.

Lentil Stew Recipe

The latest recipe is filling and healthy. The lentils are from a can and very quick to prepare. I dry fried an onion, paprika, herbs, ground pepper with a pint of vegetable stock and then poured in the lentils. Pop a lid on and let it simmer for half an hour (at least) to become fairly solid.

I prepared some roasted veggies including sweet potato chips and just for a change, cauliflower. When the veg is nearly cooked pop in some cherry tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. Makes a good, wholesome meal. You can freeze the leftover lentils.

Lentils,

Onion (half at most)

Paprika, herbs, ground pepper

Veg stock (1 pint)

Initially, I made the mistake of using a whole onion, but this recipe is better with just half an onion.

Also, I’m not nutritionally trained, but enjoy reading about health and am just blogging about my experiences. I’m thinking of doing a course on nutrition soon.

Thank you for reading my blog and I welcome any comments, likes and follows.

 

 

 

Source:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb

Healthy eating plan, beans and cous cous…

I’ve started a fitness plan because of the expanding middle haha. The gym, I attend, is running a course and so I’m tracking what is eaten. The app to track food is called Fitness Pal and is very good for recording what you are eating, drinking and any exercise. I’ve decided to cut out bread, rice, pasta and potato so my diet is on the low carbohydrate side. This is to curb appetite, hopefully. All the obvious stuff, such as sweets, chocolate, biscuits, processed food, etc. are banned. When eating out, may have some of the above although will try to avoid where possible. I’m also trying to cut down on alcohol, which is really hard.

Low carb diets are controversial, but recent studies indicate weight loss and improved health. The best way, in my view, is to be sensible. Still eat sweet potatoes, swede, carrots and copious amounts of other healthy green veg. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms are suitable for this sort of plan. When hungry, fruit and nuts are the best snacks, although it is hard if you want chocolate.

My dodgy time is around 4pm. By this, I mean it is the time I’m hankering after food. To help with this, lunch is consumed after 1.30pm and even later, if possible. Dinner is around 6.30pm and this does help stop the ol’ hunger pangs a little. Sometimes, fruit and or nuts are consumed in the evening, but not too often. I’m keeping to around 1400 calories a day. This is quite high for me, but feel is sensible and will stop some of the hunger. Will update on my progress and do join in if you want? My plan is at the end of this post.

I’ve been sorting out my kitchen cupboards and now see some foodstuff that I’d forgotten about. I know, exciting times! Anyway, I’ve recently discovered and devised a couple of lunch time meals. Admittedly, the first one isn’t low carb, but delicious for a quick lunch.

Cous Cous Bean Salad.

Make cous cous by adding the boiling water and mix. Then add basil green pesto, beans (your choice, I used mixed salad beans). Add a few pine nuts and or pumpkin seeds. Chop up some sundried tomatoes. Add lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and mixed herbs. This makes a great lunch which is filling and healthy. Afterwards, you can add what you like such as boiled egg, ham, advocado, etc.

Cous Cous

Basil green pesto

Beans

Pine nuts and or pumpkin seeds

Sundried tomatoes

Lemon juice, olive oil and mixed herbs

Bean Cous Cous…

The next revelation happened during the recent Cotswolds trip. We stopped in a B & B and the proprietor offered us homemade baked beans for breakfast and as they were so delicious, I decided upon my return, to copy and make my own. This is how I made them…

Chop carrot, onion and add tomatoes, onion, puree, stock, herbs, garlic, pepper and splash of treacle. Boil and blend, then add the beans. Cook in oven for about an hour in a casserole dish.

As you can see, I had sliced avocado, roasted mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and low fat cream cheese with the beans and even though I say so myself, the meal was surprisingly delicious and filling.

Haricot beans

Onion

Garlic (clove)

Large carrot

Veg stock

Passata and some tomato puree with some boiling water (about 1/2 pint)

2 tins tomatoes

Paprika, salt, ground black pepper

Chili powder

Optional treacle

Bay leaf (optional)

Home made baked beans with sliced avocado and blob of soft cheese…

 

Sum up

  • Low carb – Cutting out bread, rice, pasta
  • Track what you are eating
  • Lunch is consumed after 1.30pm and even later, if possible. Dinner is around 6.30pm
  • 1400 calories per day
  • Prepare and cook healthy meals

 

 

Ref.

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb

London, photography, food and shopping…

Chinatown, London

We caught the train to Charing Cross and walked towards The Photographers’ Gallery, just off Oxford Street. Yes, this was a ‘photography exhibition’ day out. Arrived to find a queue outside and duly joined the end of it. A group of people strolled up and walked straight into the building. Voicing my concern about why we were queuing, my daughter, Chris retorted, ‘Because we are British’ and walked into the gallery. The queue dissipated and we went to the first floor and started enjoying an exhibition about cross dressing. Yes, you read that correctly. Initially, the plan was missing it, but we were enticed by the historical element of the photography. Absolutely fascinating.

Me, looking at the photography at The Photograpers’ Gallery…

Cross-dressing

The exhibition is taken from the archives belonging to the collector Sebastian Lifshitz from the period 1880 – 1980s in Europe and the USA. The apparel and behaviour noted was traditionally observed in members of the opposite sex and often an expression of freedom and transgression. Both men and women wanted to deviate and explore different identities to rebel against mainstream society.

The Anti-Feminist Backlash

My curiosity derived from of the period of the forbidden pictures. Not only that, most of the interest was the cross dressing of women. The emancipation of women compelled them to dress as men in order to propel themselves into a male environment and temporary liberation.

According to the exhibition, Alexandre Dumus first coined the word in 1872 to describe the emerging women’s rights movement.

Feminism

What is particularly remarkable, is the reference to feminism. According to the exhibition, Alexandre Dumus first coined the word in 1872 to describe the emerging women’s rights movement. Women were accused of endangering the social order. Some professions became available to women but most were forbidden until the 20th century.

During the 19th century, women started to wear comfortable clothes at college. This was to embrace the new educational opportunities. They were even photographed in suits and smoking cigars whilst socialising. The photography is mesmerising because it is so unexpected. Europe had yet to see this new liberating cross dressing behaviour and it must have challenged the strict code of conduct of the period. Every generation thinks it breaks new behavioural ground, but of course, most of it has already happened.

Also, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 exhibited ground-breaking photography exploring visibility. Loved the black and white elements of contemporary photography and really worth a look.

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 exhibited ground-breaking photography…

Lunch

After this excitement, we walked towards the Getty Images Gallery (just off Oxford Street) which had a cafe nearby suitable for lunch. I had located it online, Ethos Restaurant, and thought it would be somewhere different and, as it is a vegetarian place, an unusual option.

Ethos, the interior which is amazing…

Cannot tell you how impressed I was with this place. The decor is innovative and the food beautifully arranged and delicious. You help yourself, then go to the counter where they weigh the food and you pay by weight. All very clever and efficient. We were very impressed.

Veggie food – buffet style…

Next stop, was a look around the Getty Images Gallery. This was unexpectedly small but captivating. Again, the focus is on women, but in a more creative, modern way. The exhibition is called ‘The Female Gaze’ and a response to current events. It encapsulates women and is focused on recent sexual harassment scandals, marches and campaigns.

Getty Images Gallery…

The exhibition is called ‘The Female Gaze’ and a response to current events.

After this, we wandered around Oxford Street and enjoyed looking at the new fashions. I bought a couple of vibrant, cotton shirts for myself and during this time we went back to Ethos for cake, drink and a break.

Cake break!

Later wandered around the Oxford Street area, stopped for a glass of vino, as is necessary on these trips and then made our way to the french restaurant which was booked for 5.15pm because nothing else was available. Now I have frequented the restaurant, I can see why.

The restaurant is called Brasserie Zedel and is superb.

The restaurant is called Brasserie Zedel and is superb. What luck we had, that day, with the eateries. This place has a large dining area and when we arrived it was not particularly busy. By the time we left, it was packed which is always a good sign. We had Beef Bourguignon, which was divine and lemon meringue for sweet, also splendid. The food and ambiance is beautiful and I shall certainly return.

We had Beef Bourguignon, which was divine..

During the day we took copious photos because it was such an brilliant day. Our travels took us all over the West End, including Piccadilly, Oxford Street and around the Charing Cross area. Can recommend this day trip to anyone who loves London and photography, as I do.

Piccadilly area…

Finished the day with a bottle of wine and a hilarious, merry natter at a pub called The Chandos, near our station. What a fabulous day it was. Nothing like a day out to cheer yourself up. We chatted and laughed about everything and cannot wait for our next day out.

Walking towards the pub and Charing Cross Railway Station, London…